The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Written

I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo since 2012, but I’m still reaping the writing rewards of that one year.

My fiction before that NaNoWriMo had been mostly successful. All of my plays were awarded staged readings and most of my short stories got published. Of course, I had only written two plays and three short stories over the course of 11 years. Five things total. I was a 29 year old woman who had wanted to write fiction all my life, but I just didn’t do it.

It would have been embarrassing to turn out something from my own imagination that was imperfect and less than brilliant. And so I didn’t write fiction. I wrote news articles, academic papers, and grant proposals successfully. After all I could write, but those weren’t pieces of my Very Own Personal imagination on display, so I felt less exposed.

In 2012 I could see my 30th birthday approaching and I had always thought that I would have finished my first novel before I was 30. Still just the two plays and three short stories. So I jumped on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon.

Writing for a word count taught me to just keep going. My novel was wretched. I did have a couple of moments of brilliant extemporizing that were exhilarating, especially so since I am an avid plotter and in no way shape or form a seat-of-your-pants writer. But mostly it was horrible.

I found it freeing to have written something horrible. Whatever I wrote next couldn’t possibly be the worst thing I’ve ever written. Nope. That was my NaNo Novel. Crown taken.

So, I have learned to keep going through painful stories, through half formed ideas, bad plots, weak characters, etc. I have decided that I can learn nothing from stories I don’t write. And so, whenever I can make time for my fiction hobby, I write. I’m getting better, too.

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